A broad coalition or new elections for councilors in Bitola?

Photo: Vaska M. Mladenovska / Sloboden pechat

The new majority, which currently consists of SDSM, "Poinaku" and Left and has 18 councilors, is now actually the new informal coalition that will govern the city of Bitola.

Although it may be a surprise for many, but as expected, the informal coalition VMRO-DPMNE-Poinaku, which had a majority in the Council of Bitola, collapsed.

The independent list of "Poinaku", led by the president of the Council Gabriela Ilievska, "turned the page" and renounced allegiance to VMRO-DPMNE, forming a new majority with SDSM.

The new majority, which currently consists of SDSM, "Poinaku" and Left and has 18 councilors, is now actually the new informal coalition that will govern the city of Bitola.

VMRO-DPMNE, with the new arrangement of forces in the Council, temporarily or permanently went into opposition.

Ilievska's decision to change her coalition partner, no matter how much it surprised the VMRO-DPMNE advisers, they should have expected it.

Namely, in recent times, Ilievska has announced to VMRO-DPMNE on several occasions with her statements and actions that her patience for the non-implementation of the agreed projects and policies is at an end and that it is only a matter of days when she will cancel on VMRO-DPMNE.

Lately, Ilievska has been the fiercest critic of VMRO-DPMNE policies, especially for the inefficient administration and the spending of money from the municipal budget, as well as for, in her opinion, controversial cultural projects, cultural events, and sports.

Even after such criticisms and accusations, VMRO-DPMNE and the municipal leadership behaved as if nothing was happening and as if they had a stable majority and power in the Council.

"Even with the very election of the president of the Council, who comes from an independent list and is not from a party, I emphasized that "Different" does not have any coalition of the traditional ones, to which the parties are taught. We have cooperation with the local self-government which was chosen by the citizens at that moment. But that doesn't mean that if something doesn't work, we have to be quiet and we don't have to say what we don't like. It is high time for all of us to say what the problems of the citizens are and to fight for their problems to be solved. If we have undertaken to have these functions, and at the same time we do not have obligations of the type of those traditional coalitions, we as "Poinaku" have given maximum support, but we think that it has been abused. It is true that all the requests that the citizens had from us have been accepted. But, there is no implementation of our projects. The position of "Poinaku" is that at this moment we are not satisfied with this local government", the president of the Bitola Municipality Council, Gabriela Ilievska, told "Sloboden Pechat".

In connection with such accusations and the developments in the Council of Bitola, the mayor from the ranks of VMRO-DPMNE, Toni Konjanovski, says:

- The events of the last session of the Council is another confirmation of the brakes and blockades that the President of the Council is doing to the detriment of the Municipality of Bitola and our fellow citizens. She simply wants to hold the Council hostage. This type of illegal operation has not been demonstrated by any president of the Bitola Municipality Council, at the same time showing disobedience to the legal regulations, the Rules of Procedure, thereby causing negative consequences to the progress of Bitola. At the last session, we had a situation in which, contrary to the Law on Public Enterprises, items were placed on the agenda with which the councilors from SDSM, "Poinaku" and Left, voted for the dismissal of the management and supervisory boards and completely contrary to the Law on Public Enterprises, unfounded, civil administrative bodies announced populist. Based on Article 71 paragraph 1 of the Law on Inspection Supervision, and in connection with Article 69 paragraph 1 of the Law on Local Self-Government, I will submit an initiative to the State Inspectorate for Local Self-Government to carry out extraordinary inspection supervision over the work of the Bitola Municipality Council in the exercise of his authority from article 22 point 32 of the Statute of the Municipality of Bitola, according to which the Council of the Municipality appoints members to the management and supervisory boards of the public enterprises and public institutions that it has founded, and upon the appointment of new ones, the mandate of the previous members of the management boards ceases and supervisory boards”.

Konjanovski also accuses that with the latest developments, an attempt is being made to degrade him, and at the same time, the public is being manipulated.

"Citizens know the meaning of such procedures, which were ordered by the actions of President Ilievska: wasted time through institutional proof and indirect pressure on the normal functioning of public enterprises. That is also the goal of the new coalition, which, wanting to degrade me, manipulates the public. The projects we completed last year and those we are working on this year confirm my work and the success of the local self-government. "Obviously, those who have not done anything for the past 4 years and those who are taught to only complain, regardless of which political option the mayor comes from, the work does not suit them," he said at a press conference.

When asked by journalists if he is ready to create a new majority in the Council or the so-called "broad coalition", Konjanovski said that if it is in the interest of the city, he does not rule out such a possibility.

"But I will not allow the high party ambitions of individuals or someone's bargaining and bargaining to harm Bitola. We continue with the implementation of the adopted annual programs and in my mandate I will do everything, so that Bitola has better infrastructure conditions, better conditions for young people, development of sports, culture and everything that is in the competence of the local self-government and directly depends on my work". said Konjanovski.

SDSM says that they see no reason to form a broad coalition in the council.

"For more than a year and a half, SDSM in the Bitola Municipality Council has been a constructive opposition. We gave support to many projects foreseen in various programs of the Municipality of Bitola, even when we expressed serious doubts that they would be realized. I would single out the cooperation agreement of a successful foreign company in KK Pelister, then the program that foresees the arrangement of the space at JAT. On this particular topic, we expressed on many occasions our disagreement with the way it is carried out, but in the end we supported the program with the sole purpose of giving Bitola the opportunity to develop. We also pointed out the ambiguities regarding the construction of the new park in Nova Bitola, but we supported the mayor in his intention to beautify Bitola. There are many similar examples that confirm my claim that SDSM is really a constructive opposition in the Bitola Municipality Council. Therefore, in these circumstances, I don't see any reason for any broad coalition because the projects that are really important for Bitola have received and will receive support from us. I don't even have information on what exactly Mayor Konjanovski means by the term "broad coalition", and when we have more information, of course the party will express its position. The only thing I can say right now is that SDSM does not intend to be a cover for the inability to realize the projects of the mayor and DPMNE", said Metodija Ilievski, coordinator of the advisory group of SDSM in the Bitola Municipality Council

In relation to the latest developments in the Council of Bitola, the advisory group of the Left says that they do not participate in any new majority and in the future, the Left will support any positive proposal that is on the side of the people.

"At the last session, we supported the new majority because all public enterprises have negative results, and therefore we requested changes to the management and supervisory boards," the party said.

In this situation, it is more than clear that the current arrangement of forces in the Council, the Municipality will hardly be able to function. The informal partnership between SDSM and Poinaku will be unstable, and at least for now, reconciliation between Poinaku and VMRO-DPMNE is unlikely.

The way out of the seemingly hopeless political situation in Bitola is either in the formation of a broad coalition, so that the city can function normally and the projects can be realized, or in the holding of early elections for councilors, such as were held in Tetovo last year.

All other ways of (not) solving the crisis in the Council are just "happy mathematics", from which Bitola and the citizens will have serious consequences.

VMRO-DPMNE went into opposition in the Bitola Council

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